Gems like this rarely come from places you happen to be. Rather, you have to
seek out that somewhere kind of place which produces a publication where a
Pillsbury Doughboy collector is front page news. In this case, that place is
Kansas and the newspaper is The Kansas Senior Times, a monthly publication
for active, older adults. Yet another perk of my day job (that's Rose Apley,
collector extraordinaire, on the cover).
Here's another keepsake from the 2008 Rose Bowl, courtesy of my mother,
showing my relative position in the stands. We won the battle of the fans (thanks
I love tools. I never found one I couldn't find a use for, even if it meant buying
something I didn't already own as an excuse for acquiring new tools. It's an
addiction, really. But I always have excellent reasons for whatever new tool finds its
way into my possession. What you're seeing above are my latest additions.
The wrenches are the super thin kind for various bicycle applications and spaces.
These would have been very handy when the kitchen counter top was host to my
KX250 forks. Along came eBay, and I was set.
While I was at it, I decided the water pump in my pickup truck, which originally lasted
about 75,000 miles, was probably due for destruction at any time, given that the
truck now has nearly 180,000 miles. Replacing it myself was one of the few instances
where I concluded that I would have been far better off leaving the job to the
professionals - it was that much of a pain in the ass. The reason was simple:
inadequate tools for the job, namely the devices that allow for separation of the
radiator fan from the fan clutch. The tools in the upper portion of the photo are made
for this purpose. So next time I'll be prepared. However, based on past experience,
the acquisition of tools such as these pretty much guarantees that the existing water
pump will outlast the truck itself. But I'll still have the tools....
Here's a typical post-race view, after all my gear was all cleaned following the
Leadbelt Enduro at Park Hills, Missouri. It was a great day for racing.
This isn't supposed to been seen on my kitchen counter twice in two months.
What we have here is my Gas Gas 300EC piston, cylinder, and power valves. The
piston and cylinder were in need of some help after a cold seizure at the Sand
Goblin Enduro last month. What, you ask, is a cold seizure? It's the end result of
not properly warming up a race engine to its optimal operating temperature. If a
gradual warming process doesn't take place, the heat caused by internal
combustion causes the piston to expand at a faster rate than the cylinder.
Eventually the piston makes contact with the cylinder wall and it's all bad from
there. The engine stalls, as it did in the middle of cornfield a quarter-mile from the
start of the Sand Goblin Enduro. By that time the damage is already done. The
piston looked like this, and the exhaust side of the cylinder wall was almost equally
So a new piston kit was ordered from North Tahoe Motorsports and the cylinder
was sent to US Chrome to have its interior re-plated. That was an expensive race.
Preparation for my participation in the 2008 RAGBRAI, the 471-mile bicycle ride
across the Great State of Iowa, requires many things, the first being a bicycle.
While I do have one, it has the fat tires and girth entirely unacceptable for road
riding. Enter Lee Daley, a two-wheeled fanatic not unlike myself. His upgrade to
a Specialized Roubaix left his Trek 2300 without a regular partner. I was more
than willing to take the bike off Lee's hands and call it my own.
It's the first skinny-tired bike of any kind that I've ever owned. I started with
this in 1977, upgraded to this in 1982 (loved the thumb shifters!), then moved
on to this in 1995 (the bike, not the girl), and finally picked up my current ride
in 2003. Will it ever get warm enough in Chicago to actually ride the thing? Less
than two months and counting...gotta get 'dem legs in shape.
The Kitchen Counter Archives
A few things in life still fall into the you-get-what-you-pay-for category, and
I just discovered one: mountain bike shoes. These are Shimano M160's,
which are far from the absolute top of the line, but a big step up from
these. In anticipation of 470 miles of riding across Iowa next month, I knew
I needed to upgrade the footwear but wanted one set of shoes for all my
riding - road or woods. A stiff-soled variety was a must for the road, and
the M160's fit the bill. Light, easy to get on and off, and I can still almost
walk in them (took the garbage cans out to the curb in them, as a matter of
fact). When I'm cruising down the lake shore path, I can feel the wind
reaching my feet. Very cool.
A couple months ago I saw an advertisement on Bill Gusse's OMA website for a
magazine called Dust. The preview of a handful of pages caught my eye, as did its
off-road focus. I forwarded $24 for a 2-year subscription and my first magazine
arrived last week.
With its West Coast base of operation, the content is weighted towards WORCS,
Hare & Hound and some D-36 local race coverage (a western U.S. version of Trail
Rider magazine, if you will). But other than a few bike and product reviews, it's all
about off-road racing and riding - no motocross. The photography and print
quality are excellent and the writing is pretty good. So the stack of off-road
magazines on my coffee table has now grown from excessive to ridiculous.
The damage done to the Gas Gas cylinder at the Roselawn, Indiana enduro in
April marks the third time I've sent away a cylinder for re-plating of its interior
lining throughout my illustrious racing career. Each time a cylinder returns, the
inside glistens and the outside shines as if it were fresh off the assembly line. A
bead-blasting process cleans of every speck of foreign material inside and outside.
The result is an almost surreal cleanliness that I once mistook for a silver Krylon
spray paint job. With the Gas Gas cylinder now fixed and ready to go, the
motorcycle will live again.